Blogging about blogging

How do I find myself here? This is the Web 2.0 equivalent of writing a song about being on tour. Tag this post as: “self-reflexive”.

The last time I wrote here was to proudly announce starting an MA. Since then, nothing. Why? Taking part in the MA mostly happens on OU forums. If I have a thought about something we’ve been studying, I write it there. So the blog has been a bit neglected, as blogs often are.

This week we are studying blogging again, and our tutors are encouraging us to do it ourselves. A kind of “participant observation”, looking at how blogs can be relevant to studying in 2012.

At a loss for anything in particular to write about, here are some responses to questions we are being asked in Week 16.

How do you feel about blogging?

I feel like I need to interest my wider audience. I freeze up if I think I am boring them. Ideally this would mean I write fantastically interesting posts, but usually I end up deleting my first sentence again and again. (nb. I am ignoring the need to interest my audience for this post just so I publish something. Nothing ventured etc.)

I love reading blogs. I can read blogs for hours. Consumption is quite different from participation though. The latter’s what Web 2.0 is all about, no?

I feel like I am tattooing the web with an identity. Future employers can read my digital footprint. Like it or not (and I don’t particularly like it to be honest), this is (potentially, one day) a PR page for Nick Daniels the Brand. Public blogs mean you don’t know who’s in the audience. That’s great when you connect with interesting people from around the world. But sometimes it makes me uncomfortable.

How do I want to use my blog in relation to other elearning tools I use?

First, what other elearning tools do I use? Forums. Web conferencing. Does the internet count as an elearning tool? I haven’t got any revolutionary plans for the blog, but off the top of my head I could use it for the following:

  1. Investigating ideas through writing
  2. Posting links to videos, papers, blogs etc relevant to elearning
  3. Asking questions to my readers

Do I want a blog that is not provided by my institution?

I like WordPress because it looks good and works well. I think the blogs provided by the OU are functional but don’t look good. On this topic, I think there is room to research the link between aesthestic appearance and user uptake of elearning technologies. So many VLEs, for example, are just plain ugly. It’s like the people who make them come from a purely functional viewpoint, forgetting that there is an aesthetic side to User Interface.

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